Although Lola’s Mexican Cuisine in Long Beach has a well-deserved reputation for its unique craft cocktails, the restaurant also serves both tequila and mezcal flights that pair perfectly with a selection of happy-hour shareables such as the succulent tinga tostaditas, handmade sopes and queso fundido. My favorite is the mezcal flight, which transported me back to Mexico City, to the table at Guzina Oaxaca in the Polanco neighborhood where I first discovered the gustatory pleasure of sampling an authentic single-sourced mezcal in a shallow clay cup.
Lola’s has the mezcal flight concept down to an art form. Mine came served on a wooden platter and featured three clay copitas de mezcal—Del Maguey Vida, Montelobos and Xicaru—along with a hefty fresh orange slice and another copita full of sal de gusano (a.k.a worm salt). For those who still associate mezcal with the bottle of gasoline-flavored moonshine with the worm at the bottom, the salt is a fun reminder that worms are still part of the pleasure of sipping mezcal. Sample at your own discretion, but the last time I tried the flight, I actually had to ask for more worms. ¡Buen provecho!
Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, 2030 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 343-5506; www.lolasmexicancuisine.com.